My Open Source Advocacy for the Week: KeePass Password Safe

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Reserve Grader
OK, so my biggest problem with passwords is that I can never remember them. Before using KeePass, that meant that I inevitably ended up using one of maybe three different (but all still fairly similar) passwords. Not good for anyone!

KeePass works by having a password database that is protected by one master password. Following is basically a normal day for me using it, which will also tell you the main features of it.

I turn my computer on: KeePass loads up on startup (optional), minimised to the system tray. The first time I use it either by opening it up or through auto-type (which I'll get to) it will ask me for my master password. I can also assign a 'key file' to it so that it will only open if another file is present (for example on a USB thumb drive).

I go to a new site that I am not registered for. I open KeePass (I've entered the password already, so it's just a matter of double-clicking unless I've set it to automatically re-request the master password after X minutes) and create a new password entry. When creating a new entry, I can enter my username for the site, a URL for the site and any notes for the password. I can also assign it to a 'group' (which all show up as a tree structure, like folders in Windows Explorer). I also assign a title to the password entry, naturally. Although I can make my own password for the site, KeePass will automatically suggest a random password.

Now, here's the best thing: without having to do anything else, I can go to a site, click in the username field then press Ctrl + Alt + A (or whatever keypress I assign) and KeePass will automatically (well, try to at least) work out what password to use then automatically type in the username and password and press enter. Bang, without actually having to even think about it, I'm logged in.

If the auto login doesn't work, don't worry. KeePass lets you tell it what window to use that password in (for example, for, you would tell it "*The Silvertails*") and also exactly how to type the username and password combination: maybe you need to type a username, tab to a checkbox and press space then tab to the password field before typing the password and pressing enter? That's easy, with a really simple scripting language.

So because KeePass makes it so easy, every one of my usernames has a different (and more importantly, strong) password. Plus, it's easier now for me to log in with these different passwords than it was before. Plus, it doesn't even have to be just webpages, either. Anything that requires you to remember a password can use KeePass, and the auto-typing will work for any application (so long as it has a title that is sufficiently different).

Check it out at and let me know what you think!


First Grader
Its a top idea.

Once I purchased an item from a sports store, at the counter the girl asked for my post code. I had to think about it then tell her. When I had to remember my pin number for the eftpos I forgot it. :(


Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
Its a top idea.

Once I purchased an item from a sports store, at the counter the girl asked for my post code. I had to think about it then tell her. When I had to remember my pin number for the eftpos I forgot it. :(



Kim Jong Dan
Staff member
Tipping Member
how do you go with Phone numbers Byso??

he keeps forgetting where he put his phone, so it doesn't matter anyway


Reserve Grader
@CW: Not of this particular program, no. However there are a fair few out there... I just don't know how good they are.

The key words for searching are "password safe" or "password wallet". There's one called PasswordSafe (which is the one I originally used) that is being ported to Java to run under Mac OS. However I don't know how far along it is and let's face it, it won't have the edible interface that a normal Mac application would.

I'd have a search around, there's heaps out there...

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